You were the baby who slept nights. You were the infant who quietly stacked blocks one on top of the other. You were the toddler who watched other kids go down the slide at the park 20 times before attempting it yourself. You were the preschooler who hunkered down quietly and patiently when meeting your grandmother’s chickens. So I assumed you would be a gentle boy. And you are.
And yet, now that you’re eight, I’m beginning to understand the meaning of the phrase, “Boys will be boys.”
I had my first inkling that day when you were five when we’d been stuck inside during a rainy day. You were quite literally climbing the walls. When we finally braved the weather, the first thing you did was pick up a stick and start whacking away at a bush. Better the bush than my walls. One way or another, you would get your energy out.
And I know this to be true of all children, not just boys. Like Marmee said in Little Women, girls as well as boys need an outlet for their energy. And yet, I’ve never seen my girls take to the kind of outlets that you have. The kind that can be destructive though I know you don’t mean to be.
I know you didn’t mean it when you were simply trying to kill a spider, so you whacked it with a stick . . . breaking a window in the process. I also know you didn’t mean it when your toy wasn’t working properly, so you threw it across the room . . . breaking another window. Now there are two windows on our front porch that are covered by cardboard and duct tape. But you cried when you confessed, and I know you meant it when you said you were sorry.
But sometimes in life, there’s another step beyond saying sorry. I pray that you understood this when we bought new glass for the windows from your own small piggy bank. I pray the lesson sinks in when your dad teaches you how to replace both windowpanes.
I pray you know what it means when we tell you that we are raising you to be a protector. And I pray you begin to understand that sometimes protecting the ones you love means fixing broken glass.
I pray that the hours we’ve spent on this lesson will be about more than simply fixing windows. Sure, we hope to be able to hang out on our front porch for many more days, but more than that, we hope to watch you become a man of God. We hope to be able to watch you at your work 10 years from now and know we’ve done our work well. The work of raising you right is worth the hours, the bits of broken glass vacuumed up, and the trips to the hardware store.
And I pray if ever there’s something more than broken glass that needs fixing in your life, you’ll remember the windows, and you’ll be brave enough to try. If the next broken thing in your life takes more than cardboard and duct tape, I pray you’ll know you can still pick up the phone and call us. Whether it’s trips to the hardware store or hours of conversation, we’ll be there for you. We want you to be strong enough to be a man, to own your mistakes, and to solve them when possible. But we also want you to be strong enough to ask for help when you need it. Fixing broken things isn’t easy, but as long as your dad and I are alive, you’ll never have to do it alone.